Best time to visit:
Make sure you avoid typhoon season (June to December). During Holy Week (Easter) hotel prices skyrocket and to find a free room you need to book well in advance. From January to May the weather is always beautiful and you can be outdoors as much as you want.
In a word:
Malaria is present all year below an altitude of 600 meters: consider antimalarial prophylaxis. Dengue is also widespread everywhere.
- Some regions are prone to riots. Avoid the hot spots of Mindanao Island, Basilan Island and the archipelagos of Sulu and Tawi Tawi.
- Do not flaunt signs of wealth (such as jewelry and cameras) and do not accept services from strangers.
At the table:
Rice is the key ingredient of Filipino cuisine: it is also eaten for breakfast in the form of sweets (the hearty bibingka). Excellent grilled meat skewers and stews cooked in coconut milk. Among the desserts to try are halo-halo, cup full of crushed ice, ice cream, fruit, cereals, sweet beans etc. Taste exotic fruits such as durian, santol and rambutan as well as the best mangoes in the world, but make sure they come peeled in front of you.
Starting at dawn on a typical Filipino boat to go out to sea to see dolphins emerge from the seabed and pirouette on the sea; Getting around in the chaos of the various cities aboard one of the colorful jeepneys (means of transport similar to an elongated jeep); Visit the so-called "chocolate hills", more than a thousand hills all perfectly aligned.
Made up of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is a varied archipelago rich in beaches of fine white sand, palm trees, forests, hills, rice fields, mountains, tropical flora and fauna.
Located between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, the islands that make up the country offer breathtaking landscapes with animated cities, wild rainforests, mighty mountain panoramas and warm tropical waters in which to immerse yourself in discovering the wonderful coral reef that surrounds this vast archipelago of Southeast Asia but also cities with a modern pace and interesting historical attractions, such as ancient churches, forts and legacies of Spanish colonial architecture. A trip here will engage you in exploring jungles, caves and volcanoes, diving in a splendid sea, perhaps discovering one of the wrecks of World War II and a fascinating artistic and cultural tradition.
An important part of the country's beauty is its people: Filipinos like to smile, dance and sing and this becomes an integral part of their lifestyle.
The presence of many tropical destinations of growing world fame, the lush nature, the crystal clear sea, the intersection of different cultures, a joyful society and a rich local cuisine are just some of the ingredients that make a trip to the Philippines something special and unforgettable. .
Nature characterizes the beautiful province of Palawan, thanks to destinations such as: El Nido, Coron and Puerto Princesa.
However, there are tons of other extraordinary destinations worth considering; for example, this time, we focused on the province of Bohol, also thanks to the cheap flights that are online on Cebu!
Here, in addition to a sea from the holiday catalog, you can discover the peaceful country life of the Philippines, with the suggestive landscape of the “Chocolate Hills” 1268 hills between 40 and 120 meters high, all perfectly aligned. The colorful terraces on the mountains of the island of Luzon, built more than 2000 years ago and considered one of the eight wonders of the world, and visit the extraordinary little primate Tarsier at a center dedicated to its conservation.
Is it dangerous to travel to the Philippines? Be aware that trips to the Mindanao region have been reported to be at security risk. Avoid the central and north-western areas of the island, the southern part of the Zamboanga peninsula and the islands southwest of Mindanao, due to the armed clashes between the army and the rebel forces, the threat of attacks and the risk of kidnapping of foreigners.
Petty crime is present throughout the country, particularly in some districts of the city of Manila and Cebu, therefore caution is recommended especially at night and in less traveled areas of cities.
Apart from this little sore point, once we arrived in beautiful Bohol everything changed and we let ourselves be lulled by the sweet relaxation of the island, fully enjoying all the beauty of the place. Here is our experience bearing in mind that we reserve the discovery of the other islands in future trips!
Let's set foot in this new nation trying not to get too stressed by the many preconceptions of all the people we met during our long journey in Southeast Asia. They advised us not to trust anyone and to be careful of taxi drivers, kids on the street, pickpockets, various areas of the city ... and we, in response, take a ride to the center from Siarika, a girl we met at the airport and after having found a shabby little hotel (Cebu Guesthouse), we immediately take a “jeepney” (typical local bus), direction S. Toninho and Pier 1 to buy tomorrow's ferry ticket to Tagibilaran.
The jeepney is the main means of public transport in the Philippines. In practice, it is an “elongated” jeep, open in the back and with two long seats on both the right and left sides.
It is very cheap and you pay with the handrail: if you are far from the driver, hand the money to your neighbor who will do the same thing with his until the coins arrive at the driver of the vehicle (who does not even count them !).
Everywhere around you can see armed men, vans with bulletproof glass and security men with big guns at the entrances of almost every store, even fast food!
What a tension!
A few hundred meters from the Fort of San Pedro we come across a stadium crowd ready to attend the celebration of Holy Mass. Impressive!
The scenery is suggestive, a little less the things we see: dirt, shady people, homeless people, even if, in the midst of all this, there are the looks and smiles of the many beautiful people we met along our path and that we will carry within us!
But it's time to turn the page!
After a troubled night, in two hours by ferry we arrive in Tagbilaran, on the island of Bohol.
From the port, in 35 minutes by taxi we reach our little paradise where we will spend 6 days in complete relaxation.
We couldn't have found a better place.
Our hut is cared for down to the smallest detail and only 200 meters from Alona beach.
We walk along a dirt road with the typical woven straw houses on stilts on the sides, a group of children follows us curiously ...
A few meters and we are surrounded by green palm trees; under our feet: white sand as fine as flour.
We stop to eat at an inn on the beach where we can enjoy excellent fish for a few pesos!
The sun is warm, the sea is crystal clear, a gentle breeze, the hermit crabs, the coconut, the fish stalls ...
"When it rains heavily - I was taught at the SCOUTS - put on your bathing suit to avoid getting all your clothes wet!"
Said and done ... not happy, when it started raining heavily, while everyone ran away from the beach, we dived into that heavenly sea to experience one of the most cherished moments of the entire trip!
We leave at 05.30 in the morning aboard a typical Filipino boat for an area in the middle of the Bohol Sea, known by fishermen, where dolphins meet at dawn to feed ...
While we are sailing we are lucky enough to witness yet another show that Mother Nature gives us every day: a golden ball that slowly and solemnly rises upwards, illuminating everything in its path!
Suddenly we see a huge pod of dolphins jumping and diving happily back into those clear waters! What great animals! I always assimilate them to birds for that feeling of freedom that only they are able to convey.
Fill your eyes and your heart sets sail back to Balicasag Island.
We snorkel by simply leaning out of our boat.
After touching the ground, on a beach made up only of small pieces of coral, we embark again, armed with masks and tubes, aboard a wooden rowing canoe to snorkel offshore!
When we dive into those tropical waters, we almost feel the sensation of being inside a documentary on life at the bottom of the sea or even in an aquarium.
Fish of all sizes, colors and shapes swim blissfully among large corals and colorful algae when suddenly everything turns midnight blue: the immense begins!
What an unforgettable experience to caress this intriguing world, swimming hand in hand and communicating with gestures at each exciting encounter.
Virgin Island… the name already says it all. We remain literally speechless for a few minutes to admire this spectacle so beautiful it seems artificial!
The islet consists of a 200-meter strip of white sand that emerged for a few hours a day according to the tides. Never seen such a thing!
The Chocolate Hills are a group of hills, with an unusual shape, located in the hinterland of the island of Bohol. The number of these hills is around 1268 (although some estimates have taken it up to 1776).
The Chocolate Hills are not huge and the tallest one barely reaches 120 meters in height while most of the hills are between 30 and 50 meters.
Their formation is still a mystery: one of the most popular local legends has it that, a long time ago, two giants fought for days, throwing dirt and stones at each other until they fell exhausted, and friends again, one in the arms of the other.
This is the ideal place to relax and the right destination if you are traveling in Southeast Asia: partly to avoid the chaos of large Philippine cities and partly to take advantage of the many flight offers.
Today we reach the port of Tagbilaran by taxi and slowly, by ferry, we conquer the mainland: Cebu.
This time we have chosen to know and explore only one of the many islands of the Philippines, a first taste that has already made us want to discover this culture more deeply!
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